Mar 9, 2011, Wednesday (The Straits Times) Singapore
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was offered a job with The Straits Times in the 1940s, but he declined. -- PHOTO: AP
IF HISTORY had turned out differently, former premier Mahathir Mohamad may well have been a journalist. In his memoirs, he wrote about how he was offered a job with The Straits Times in the 1940s but declined.
He was then a medical student in Singapore, and had a monthly allowance of just $25. He earned a side income of $50 from writing for The Straits Times and The Sunday Times.
The most he earned for an article was $40. 'Most of my articles were about the problems of the Malays, and had titles like 'Malay padi farmers need help', 'Plight of the fisher folk' and 'New thoughts on nationality',' he wrote.
He said Mr Allington Kennard, then The Straits Times associate editor, offered him a job as a full-time journalist. At that time, the newspaper had very few Malay journalists.
But he politely declined. 'Getting a degree and thereby developing my political career was much too important to me,' he said.
He said his columns appeared regularly in The Sunday Times under the pseudonym C.H.E. Det. Det was his family nickname, and he masked his identity by separating the letters in Che, which was short for Inche or Mr. Tun Dr Mahathir still uses Che Det as the name of his popular blog.